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How Bail Works

How Bail Works | Bail Process

When someone is arrested on a bailable offense and bail is set, the defendant can forfeit his/her right to see a judge within 72 hours of arrest (weekends and holidays excluded) and bailout.

This is done most commonly using one of two methods:

  1. The defendant or someone other than the defendant will post cash bail at the jail.
    • This dollar amount is 100% of the set bail for the defendant’s offense.
    • If the set bail is $5000, then $5000 cash will need to be posted.
    • When the defendant has fulfilled all of his/her obligations by appearing in court on all matters until the case is resolved the cash posted for his/her release will then be returned to the party who posted it.
  2. If neither the defendant nor any family members or friends have access to the entire bail amount. They can call a Licensed Bail Agent and arrange to post a Bail Bond.
    • To post a Bail Bond, typically you would need two things, PREMIUM & COLLATERAL.
    • Premium is 10% of the set bail, (Bail equals $5000, the premium would be $500), and is considered earned once the defendant is released on said bond and at that time is nonrefundable.
    • Collateral is something for the Bail Agent to hold until the defendant has finished all required appearances with the court, at which time it would be returned.
    • Collateral is usually one of four things, CASH, CARS, REAL ESTATE, and in some cases SIGNATURES of someone who qualifies to be financially responsible to secure the bond.

Understanding Bail Bonds

Because the justice system and posting bail are legal processes, it can be confusing to many what goes on, how a process works, and what legal papers really say. Like many binding contracts that are probably read a few times over to fully understand everything, the bail process may take time for one to truly grasp all the boundaries, limits, and allowances. Below are some basic keywords that come up in situations, and what they mean.

  • Bail bond – a bond given to court, ensuring the defendant will appear at their court hearing. The defendant can be released from imprisonment until that date.
  • Bail agent or bail bondsman – an individual who provides bail as a surety
  • Bail-jumping – failure of showing up to court hearing (after posting bail and getting released)
  • Personal recognizance – the release of the defendant upon posting bail where the court takes the defendant’s word that they will show up for their court hearing (or other scheduled matters when ordered)
  • Surety – the primary individual responsible for the payment of debt or actions of another’s obligations


These terms are the basics to know and understand. We don’t expect you to take care of a bail case on your own – that is putting more stress and strain on yourself than what you are already experiencing by just having to bail someone out of jail. Call Absolute Bail Bonds at (800) 793-2245 – our professional and friendly staff will answer all your questions and walk you through the process.

Absolute Bail Bonds® is committed to serving all your bail bond needs throughout the state of California. We are ready and available to post bail for your loved ones in every court and every jail throughout California. Whether during the day or the middle of the night, we are ready and willing to drive and meet relatives and co-signers to negotiate the quick release of friends or loved ones.

There is no need to go through this emotional time alone. Absolute Bail Bonds® can help you through this tough time. Our bail bonds agents are here for you and waiting to answer any questions about bail bonds.

Call 800-793-2245 today to speak to a licensed bail bondsman and answer all your bail bonds questions.